The low price of oil has far-reaching consequences for petroleum producers. Not only jobs and businesses, but national budgets are affected. World production leaders Russia and Saudi Arabia are calling for a freeze on output to keep prices stable.
Russia's economy is the world's eleventh-largest. Following a period of recession, it managed to return to growth last year despite Western sanctions widening. But can the country continue on the road of recovery?
As shale oil makes a comeback, the United States could outstrip Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer. But is this new boom in black gold sustainable?
Rising oil prices had whetted the appetites of Wall Street, yet the massive fourth-quarter profits of America's two biggest oil companies were weaker than expected and pushed stocks down.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, once seen as the Gulf's leading tax havens, have imposed a 5 percent value-added tax on goods and services. Riyadh has also sought to balance its budget by upping fuel prices.
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